Think Design : The Sunk Cost Fallacy

Have you ever watched a crappy movie all the way to the end? Have you ever stayed in a bad relationship? Finished your college degree even though you disliked the major you chose? Stayed at a job that you hated? Held onto a stock that kept going down? Kept playing a terrible game because you figured it just had to get better at some point?

If any (or all) of these is true, don’t worry about it. The reason we do these things is because of the Sunk Cost Fallacy, which says that once we’ve invested in something, we have a tendency to stick with it because we don’t want to ‘waste’ everything we’ve put in.

It’s important to note that the ‘cost’ here can be money, time, emotion, or effort. We value all of these things, so investing one or more of them into something creates that sense of cost.

“I don’t really want to go to this wedding either. But we already RSVP’d, and we marched all this way…”

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